Tag Archives: grief

On The Matter Of Mattering In The Aftermath Of A Parent’s Death

My Father's Death
Amelia lost her dad this year. Read More »

It has been five-and-a-half months since my dad died and yet it sometimes feels like it hasn’t hit me yet. Even though his ashes are sitting in a box in my apartment. He had been absent from my day-to-day life for years, our interactions limited, at their most intimate, to Skype. Then we stopped talking. And then eight months later, he died. After the initial shock, my day-to-day life didn’t seem to be that different. I was used to not speaking to him, and had long ago resigned myself to not seeing him again. I couldn’t figure out how to grieve. Keep reading »

Girl Talk: This House Is Not Just A House & Other Thoughts On My Dad’s Death

My Dad Died
Amelia shares some thoughts on his dad's recent passing. Read More »
When A Parent Dies
11 simple rules for how to deal when your parent passes away. Read More »
Weird Dads Rock!
7 reasons I'm glad my dad isn't, you know, normal. Read More »

In the few days following my dad’s passing a few weeks ago, I received flowers from friends and coworkers, endless phone calls, emails and Facebook messages expressing condolences, and more than a few people offering to help in any way they could. It was wonderful and comforting, to be sure, and would, I thought, keep me going as I set about tying up all the loose ends of my father’s “estate,” something I assumed would take a few weeks to a month, at most.

Well, a little over a week has passed, the flowers have dried, the calls have died down, and people have rightfully moved on. But, I’m realizing, the shitshow is just beginning for me. I don’t know what I was thinking, assuming that settling my dad’s affairs would be a simple process, but it’s far from it. He didn’t have a will. I won’t have a death certificate for a few weeks, at which point I can then finally establish myself as the executor of his estate, which hopefully no one will contest. (You hear that, uncle of mine?) In the meantime, his house languishes in rural Hawaii, already two months behind on the mortgage payments. The unofficial “tenants” my dad had let stay there over the years have the run of the place; I’ve heard that they’ve already begun selling off his more valuable possessions (there aren’t many) like his TV. And I can’t do anything about it because Hawaii’s tenant laws allow any old person to establish residency in a home by spending a few nights somewhere. Seriously! Crash at someone’s house for a weekend and it’s suddenly your place! I will have to formally evict people who never paid a month’s rent from my dad’s home, as they sell off belongings I can’t even prove are his. It’s a nightmare. Keep reading »

11 Simple Rules For What To Do When Your Parent Dies

My Dad Died
Amelia shares some thoughts on his dad's recent passing. Read More »
Why Amy's Death Hurts
amy winehouse photo
Amy Winehouse's death hits hard for the loved ones of addicts. Read More »
How To Deal...
...when your friend's husband hits on you. Read More »

I turned 20 years old this year, and with that birthday came the 10th anniversary of my father’s death. This past decade has given me plenty of space and time to orchestrate my thoughts about losing a parent.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a magical secret to healing. I wish I did. Still, what I can do is let you know what I’ve learned since 2002. I’m going to speak in terms of losing a parent, but, really, almost everything I say can apply to the loss of anyone you love. Keep reading »

Thoughts On My Father’s Death

Today would have been my father’s 65th birthday. He died this past Thursday, in his sleep, after a 15-year battle with drug addiction and untreated mental illness. I found out on Friday, my 33rd birthday. The last time I heard from my dad was two weeks prior to his death, in an email sent from an internet cafe in Hilo, Hawaii, the town near where he lived. The power was out at his house and had been for two months, because he couldn’t pay his bill. I hadn’t spoken to him, or written to him, or acknowledged him at all since March. Our relationship was, over the years, wonderful and difficult and horrible and bittersweet. He taught me many things and helped shape the person I am today. I’m overwhelmed with sadness, but also relieved that he won’t be in, or cause, pain anymore. Keep reading »

Holiday Survival Guide: 6 Tips For Dealing With The Holidays When You’ve Lost A Loved One

A Jew At Xmas?
Six tips for the Jew at Christmas dinner. Read More »
Holiday Gift Guide
Everything you'll ever need for your holiday shopping. Read More »
1st Holiday With His Folks
10 things not to do at your first holiday dinner with his folks. Read More »

The holidays suck extra hard when you’re trying to cope with the loss of a family member, even if you’re not a Grinch by nature. However you define your family, once someone that was an integral part of your warm and fuzzy celebrations is missing, winter brings a feeling of doom and gloom that all the vitamin D in the world can’t fix. Keep reading »

Decode My Dream: A Visit From A Deceased Dad

I had a dream recently that I can’t seem to make sense of. In my dream, I was on the porch of another home, not the one I currently live in. It was snowing very heavy, which is unusual in southern Alabama, where I live. There were several people, friends and family, walking in with such joy and happiness. My sister walked up and handed me a framed photo of herself as she passed by and walked into the house. As I looked at the picture, my eyes began to water as if I was crying and I turned to look to my side and there stood our dad who passed away 10 years ago. He looked at me and said, “That’s right baby, this is the last one.” I looked away and when I looked back he was gone. At that point, I woke up very shaken. I have had dreams before that actually came true in my life and this one has me very disturbed. Can you please give me some insight? — Missing Dad

Keep reading »

Liam Neeson Talks About Natasha Richardson’s Death

“It’s easy enough to plan jobs, to plan a lot of work. That’s effective. But that’s the weird thing about grief. You can’t prepare for it. You think you’re gonna cry and get it over with. You make those plans, but they never work. It hits you in the middle of the night — well, it hits me in the middle of the night. I’m out walking. I’m feeling quite content. And it’s like suddenly, boom. It’s like you’ve just done that in your chest.”

—Liam Neeson opens up in Esquire about discovering wife Natasha Richardson’s skiing injuries were far more serious than initially thought, and the grief he feels over her death. Grab a tissue box if you want to read the full article. It’s beyond sad. Keep reading »

Girl Talk: I’m Uncomfortable With Grief

Maybe I can do this, I thought. But there was still a little part of me that was relieved when she left because I could finally be alone again with just my own grief to keep me company.

My mom got the call about my grandma’s death just two minutes after walking into my apartment on Thursday. I could see she went into shock immediately and my brain told me what I should do. Comfort her, Amelia, I told myself. I sat her down on my couch, I wrapped my arms around her, and I called her “Momma.” We talked about how my grandma hadn’t been herself for over a year, since a stroke stole her interest in eating and her ability to bathe herself without assistance. She had even stopped telling the same stories over and over, like a broken record, as she now sat quietly instead. When she did speak, it was slurred and almost incomprehensible. Those same stories that used to irritate us — like the one about how she saw Elvis perform and remarked to a man after the show that he wasn’t very good and that man turned out to be Elvis’ father — we had come to really miss. My mom and I both cried and I felt like I was doing this grieving and comforting thing right this time. But when my brother, now 25, came over for dinner, I found the hug I gave him to be awkward and I immediately thought I was an a**hole for not being able to comfort him fully. I hid in the kitchen for the rest of the afternoon, cooking the Thanksgiving meal that we were determined to eat despite the sad news.

I spent the rest of the weekend almost completely alone with my thoughts. On Friday night, I had a regular booty call come over for a sleepover, which was a great distraction and I’ll admit I found the cuddling afterward to be a comfort. Yesterday, my mom came over and we watched “Gone with the Wind,” my grandma’s and my favorite movie, and cleaned out my closet. It felt good to keep my mom company. I gave her a bunch of cashmere sweaters I no longer wore, because she never spends any money on herself. Maybe I can do this, I thought. I’m helping. But there was still a little part of me that was relieved when she left because I could finally be alone again with just my own grief to keep me company.

On Thursday, my mom, my brother, and I are all flying out to San Diego for my grandma’s funeral. My mom has indicated that she needs to be surrounded by those she loves right now, which is why the three of us are not only flying together, but taking the train to the airport together too. I’ve had to bite my tongue so I don’t say that taking a taxi from work would actually be easier for me. Because it’s not about what’s more convenient for me this weekend.

After the funeral, the whole family — the three of us, my aunt, uncle, four cousins, and assorted others — are going to lunch at El Torito, my grandma’s favorite chain restaurant (a close second is Red Lobster). Then we’ll go to my aunt’s house, where we’ll play my grandma’s favorite music — everything from Frank Sinatra to Eric Clapton — and share stories about her, because she was the type of woman who always made you smile. I’ll talk about how she was always inflating the stories I told her about my life in New York. When I interviewed Lisa Marie Presley for a teeny tiny piece in Rolling Stone years ago, she told everyone I was “good friends with Elvis’ daughter.” When I began dating my ex, who worked at CBS at the time, she referred to him as the “head of the network” even though he was just an ad sales assistant. Of my job at The Frisky, which is affiliated with Turner Broadcasting? “You work with Ted Turner every day don’t you, sweetheart? Remember when he was married to Jane Fonda?” I’ll talk about how I still get cravings for sauerkraut and crushed-up Ramen soup and cucumber salads because those were the foods she always made for me as a kid.

I know the experience is going to be emotional and my natural instinct is going to be to run so I don’t have to face the discomfort of seeing people I love feeling so raw. I don’t know why seeing other people grieve freaks me out so much, but I don’t expect I’ll understand it or overcome it completely in the next few days. But I’m old enough now to know that the best thing I can do for myself and for those I love and to honor my grandma’s memory is to suck it up.

Photo: iStockphoto

Girl Talk: My Brother Died Before I Was Born

My parents had been married for five years when they had their first child, a boy named Nathan. It was the fall of 1974 and he was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a congenital bone disease you may have heard referred to as “Brittle Bone Disease.”

My mother was told she should institutionalize her baby, but instead my parents brought him home and learned how to care for him. I can’t imagine all that they must have gone through – they were 26 years old with a baby who was critically ill. There are pictures of Nathan in front of the Christmas tree in his bouncy seat, looking pretty happy, with splints on his arms. He lived to be eight months old and then, in June 1975, on Friday the 13th, Nathan died. Keep reading »

Girl Talk: Happy Mother’s Day? I Don’t Think So.

“Thanks, but my mother’s dead,” I heard myself snap.

From the horrified look on the saleswoman’s face, it was clear I should’ve come up with a more tactful response when she steered me towards the Mother’s Day cards. After all, it wasn’t her fault my mom died; this lady was just doing her job. Keep reading »

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